Lawyers for Malawi gay couple to challenge homosexuality ban

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The lawyers representing two gay men who had a wedding ceremony in Malawi have asked for a review of the country’s homosexuality ban.

Homosexuality is punishable in Malawi with up to 14 years in prison. Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga’s lawyers argue this law is unconstitutional.

The couple were arrested on December 28th in Blantyre after holding a public ceremony. They are currently in custody in Chichiri prison.

Their legal team has asked for the case to be held before the Constitutional Court, but the presiding judge in Blantyre has said he will continue with the trial until the higher court accepts the case.

Judge Nyakwawa Usiwausiwa agreed that a constitutional review could take place.

The men’s lawyer Mauya Msuku argued that the Malawi Republican Constitution states that no one should face discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.

Amnesty International has called for the pair to be released. They are being held in custody to protect them from mob attacks, authorities said.

Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen said: “Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga have committed no criminal offence and should be immediately and unconditionally released.

“The Malawian authorities’ attempt to subject them to forcible anal examinations is appalling. Such practices, and the criminalisation of homosexuality in Malawi should be ended without delay.”